With all the hype around WeChat these days, it’s easy to forget about Weibo, however do so at your peril, as there’s still plenty of life in the micro-messaging app.
WeChat has captured the nation’s attention and screen time, with the average user spending more than one hour a day on the app.
However, while China’s love for WeChat is strong, so too is it’s love for Weibo as the platform continues to grow in users and influence.
Weibo has continued to see steady growth in active users, passing 297 million monthly active users in September last year – a 34% increase on the previous year.
The growth is being driven by China’s young people, a whopping 82% of Weibo users are aged under 30 years. In fact, 70% of users are aged 18 – 30 years.
Weibo users are predominantly white collar workers – more than three-quarters (77.8%) of Weibo users are university educated. The audience skews male (55.5%).
Weibo appears to be more popular in China’s Tier 4 cities, which make up 30% of the sites users, followed by Tier 3 (26%) and Tier 2 (25%). China’s Tier 1 cities, which includes Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou account for just 16% of Weibo users.
The majority of Weibo’s growing monthly active users (89%) access Weibo via wireless devices.
While images remain the most popular content to be posted on Weibo, the introduction of live video streaming has been immensely popular.
Videos on Weibo exploded in 2016, with short video views during Q3 surging 740% compared with the previous year.
In total 23 million live streams were broadcast in the third quarter of 2016 – that equates to 260 thousand every day – and were watched by 5.38 million people.
Weibo remains a popular channel with China’s KOLs and celebrities, these two groups have embraced live streams and are helping to ensure the popularity on the format.
Clearly, there are still huge opportunities for marketers on Weibo, particularly for generating brand and product awareness.
The platform is largely used for discovery – be it the latest news, gossip or new brands and products. This means it is an effective platform for launching new products, particularly with the use of live streaming video.
China’s KOLs and celebrities regular use Weibo to share their news and communicate with their fans, and they too are increasingly using live streaming to promote products and services.
Weibo also offers great opportunities for brands wishing to link to Tmall and Taobao, thanks to Alibaba’s stake in Weibo.
For marketers looking to target Chinese consumers – particularly those lucrative 18 – 40 year olds, it’s important to utilise both Weibo and WeChat and play to each platform’s strengths.